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Colorful Star Birth Region Near Tarantula Nebula Unveiled On Hubble's 100,000th Orbit Milestone

Date:
August 11, 2008
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
During Hubble's 100,000th orbit around the Earth, it peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074. The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170,000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our Local Group of galaxies.

In commemoration of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope completing its 100 000th orbit around the Earth in its 18th year of exploration and discovery, scientists have aimed Hubble to take a snapshot of a dazzling region of celestial birth and renewal. Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074 (upper, left). The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170 000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our Local Group of galaxies. This representative colour image was taken on 10 August, 2008, with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Red shows emission from sulphur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen.
Credit: NASA, ESA and M. Livio (STScI)

During Hubble’s 100,000th orbit around the Earth it peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074.

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The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170 000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our Local Group of galaxies.

The three-dimensional-looking image reveals dramatic ridges and valleys of dust, serpent-head “pillars of creation”, and gaseous filaments glowing fiercely under torrential ultraviolet radiation. The region is on the edge of a dark molecular cloud that is an incubator for the birth of new stars.

The high-energy radiation blazing out from clusters of hot young stars already born in NGC 2074 is sculpting the wall of the nebula by slowly eroding it away. Another young cluster may be hidden beneath a circle of brilliant blue gas at centre, bottom.

In this approximately 100-light-year-wide fantasy-like landscape, dark towers of dust rise above a glowing wall of gases on the surface of the molecular cloud. The seahorse-shaped pillar at lower, right is approximately 20 light-years long, roughly four times the distance between our Sun and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

The region is in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy. It is a fascinating laboratory for observing star-formation regions and their evolution. Dwarf galaxies like the LMC are considered to be the primitive building blocks of larger galaxies.

This representative colour image was taken on 10 August, 2008, with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Red shows emission from sulphur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Colorful Star Birth Region Near Tarantula Nebula Unveiled On Hubble's 100,000th Orbit Milestone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811072457.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2008, August 11). Colorful Star Birth Region Near Tarantula Nebula Unveiled On Hubble's 100,000th Orbit Milestone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811072457.htm
European Space Agency. "Colorful Star Birth Region Near Tarantula Nebula Unveiled On Hubble's 100,000th Orbit Milestone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811072457.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

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